Tour de France News Extra for July 8, 2004
Edited by Kristy Scrymgeour and John Stevenson
Australian round up
By John Trevorrow
McEwen back in Green
Photo ©: Sirotti
As predicted, Robbie McEwen had to relinquish the yellow jersey of Tour
de France leader after just one day. His Lotto-Domo team could manage
only 18th place in the team time trial, finishing 4 minutes behind US
Postal, but losing only the maximum 2:30. Lance Armstrong will spend his
60th day in yellow while Robbie has acquired a similar number of yellow-clad
minutes. "A bit short really," said McEwen, "about one hour, 20 minutes.
I don't suppose you can count the hours I wore it in bed! I did miss out
on the buzz of wearing the Maillot Jaune in the peloton. But the reception
from the crowds was great and I must admit I didn't realise what a buzz
it would be to wear the Yellow Jersey."
About the actual time trial, McEwen said, "the course was pretty stock
standard for a TTT although the conditions were treacherous. We passed
the Cofidis team who all hit the deck. I'm now back in the colour that
I'm a bit more used to. But with one stage win already in the bag, it
feels good to be able to say that I'm just going to go for another stage
win. I've almost done everything I came to do on this Tour - almost."
O'Grady still in the horrors
Photo ©: CN
Stuart O'Grady's horror start continued today as he fell for the third
time in four days. But instead of the frustration you would expect to
be bubbling to the surface after the stage, Stuey was actually laughing.
"Disasters normally come in threes," he said, "so I reckon my luck has
got to change soon. It was like riding on ice and on one of the corners
the first guy just lost it and we all went down like a deck of cards.
Still there's still more than two weeks to go and I've got to be talking
about a positive story at a stage finish soon."
Scott Sunderland was in good humour before the team time trial but still
not happy with previous day's drama. " I punctured on the long section
of cobbles," he explained, "and rode it flat to the end thinking there
would be Mavic service there. No such luck, which is pretty thoughtless
of the officials since they are the ones that organize the Paris Roubaix
and should know what can happen on these cobbles. This is not a one-day
classic, it is a three-week tour and it doesn't take a rocket scientist
to know there would be plenty of punctures and many riders would be left
Before the start of the time trial Sunderland pointed out that the course
would be dangerous, not only with the rain, but also because of the wind.
"We've just ridden here 35km from the hotel and that wind's dangerous
mate. With the disc wheels in and riding down on the drops. We'll just
take it easy for the first 30 km and try and stay upright then bring it
home in the last half into the headwind."
Scott had some interesting thoughts on the chances for rouleurs like
himself to win a stage. "You've got more top sprinters now so their teams
just put a couple each on the front and ride tempo and don't let the breakaways
get the big gaps that happened in the past. I reckon the best chance for
me will be coming into Quimper and then the stages down the Massif Central
before the Pyrenees."
The new rules
in the team time trial meant that most of the teams who did not have a
rider challenging for overall, did not need to put in an extreme effort.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)